"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Can Wake Forest exorcize the Blue Devils?

Demon Deacons seek revenge and hope to continue their home winning streak against Tobacco Road rival Duke
Cooper Sullivan
“The Demon Deacons were in striking distance the entire game, but never led, and couldn’t find the offense to squeeze out a win in Durham.”

It’s safe to say this is the biggest game of the Demon Deacons’ season. Wake Forest (17-9, 9-6) is on the bubble, and depending on which bracket predictions you look at, they could be on the outside looking in on the NCAA tournament. That can change on Saturday, when No. 8 Duke (21-5, 12-3) comes to town. 

In round one at Cameron Indoor, Duke outlasted Wake Forest 77-69. The Demon Deacons were in striking distance the entire game, but never led, and couldn’t find the offense to squeeze out a win in Durham. They found themselves in constant foul trouble, with Efton Reid III picking up two fouls in the first few minutes. In fact, Reid only played a mere 15 minutes due to such foul trouble — forcing increased time for Matthew Marsh, or small-ball lineups that put Andrew Carr on Kyle Filipowski.  

Duke is the epitome of a “blue blood” in today’s age of college basketball. Between national championships, five-star recruits and one-and-dones every year, the well-oiled machine operated by Coach K has been passed onto former Duke player and Associate Head Coach Jon Scheyer — and Duke hasn’t skipped a beat. Sure, they’ve underperformed their incredibly high standards with Scheyer at the helm, but Duke’s squad is still one of, if not the most talented in the ACC. Let’s take a look:

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Duke’s Projected Starting Lineup

Player Position Class Height PPG RPG APG
Kyle Filipowski Center SO 7-0 16.9 8.2 2.7
Mark Mitchell Forward SO 6-9 13.0 6.3 1.2
Tyrese Proctor Guard SO 6-5 10.1 2.9 3.6
Jared McCain Guard FR 6-3 13.5 4.9 1.8
Jeremy Roach Guard SR 6-2 14.1 2.4 3.2


Wake Forest’s Projected Starting Lineup

Player Position Class Height PPG RPG APG
Efton Reid III Center JR 7-0 9.0 8.2 1.3
Andrew Carr Forward SR 6-10 13.5 6.9 1.3
Cam Hildreth Guard JR 6-4 13.5 4.8 2.7
Boopie Miller Guard SO 6-0 15.5 2.8 3.7
Hunter Sallis Guard JR 6-5 18.3 4.0 2.5


Matchup by Metrics

Wake Forest Category Duke
79.4 PPG 80.5
69.3 Opponent’s PPG 67.2
47.4% FG% 48.1%
37.3% 3PT% 38%
80.5% FT% 72.8%
35.4 REB 36.6
12.6 AST 15.5
21 Kenpom Rank 12
27 Offensive Efficiency Rank 12
26 Defensive Efficiency Rank 25


Duke’s offense starts with center Kyle Filipowski. The former ACC Rookie of the Year came back for a second season in Durham and has put up even better numbers. He can do everything, namely playing both in the post and on the perimeter (35.6% 3PT). In the first game between the two teams, he posted a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. If there is a weakness in his game, it’s his weak free throw shooting at only 65.4%. 

However, it was Blue Devil forward Mark Mitchell who stole the show at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mitchell posted 23 points on an efficient shooting night (9-14 FG). Mitchell is a freaky athletic forward who can jump out of the gym and repeatedly outmuscled players like Damari Monsanto in the post when Carr went to the bench with foul trouble. Mitchell also excels as a defender and had eight rebounds as well as two blocks at home versus the Demon Deacons. However, he isn’t a threat on the perimeter, with a meager 21.2% on three point attempts, although he hit four against Boston College a few weeks ago. 

As for Duke’s backcourt, they’re led by freshman phenom Jared McCain. The former five-star can shoot the lights out from three (40.1% 3PT) and is a scrappy rebounder, with an impressive 4.9 rebounds per game (third best on the team, behind Filipowski and Mitchell). Against Wake Forest, he hit three 3-pointers and got 10 rebounds. Not bad for a guard.

Keys to the Game


Wake Forest is most dangerous with Reid on the court. The ability to have a threat in the interior forces opposing defenses to collapse, and leave themselves vulnerable to open threes. That never materialized in round one, as Reid sat more than he played. In addition, Reid is the only player who can have a chance of guarding Filipowski without constant double teams and post traps. With Marsh or Carr on Filipowski, the Deacs had to commit another defender to post defense, leaving shooters open on the perimeter.


We know that Hunter Sallis shows up every game, but sometimes “Boopie” Miller and Cam Hildreth can disappear from games and even become liabilities. At Duke, the two guards posted just nine points combined, on 2-16 shooting from the field. In addition, the two gave up five costly turnovers. When Miller and Hildreth play at a high level, Wake Forest’s offense becomes an unstoppable force. Fortunately, they usually come to play at home. If Wake wins this game, expect good games from Boopie and Cam.


If Duke has a weakness, it’s their lack of bench points. In the first matchup, Duke had three players play 38 out of 40 minutes, and only one bench player played more than two minutes. In addition, Duke only had four bench points, courtesy of Caleb Foster’s four free throws made. Attacking the paint and racking up fouls on Duke’s starters will force Coach Scheyer to put in his reserves, who are less talented and experienced, allowing Wake Forest to attack advantages.

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  • D

    DavidBFeb 25, 2024 at 10:11 am

    Not a word about your immature fans storming the court and injuring a Duke player? Guess you approved.

    • J

      Joe GomezFeb 26, 2024 at 6:48 am

      Wow, an article that was written before the game was played. Your expectations are difficult to meet

    • C

      CCFeb 26, 2024 at 7:59 am

      Clearly you didn’t even read the article, this is a PRE-GAME analysis. Sorry that the author isn’t a time-traveler!

    • S

      Steve Forbes (burner)Feb 26, 2024 at 2:21 pm

      Injured? Are we talking about his pride?